For my fourth ultra of the year I accompanied my brother in law Gareth to Glentress Forest near Peebles for the Tweed Valley Ultra, I was doing the 50k and Gareth was doing the 65k, both covering the same route with the 65k getting an extra 15k loop tacked on. The 65k took off at 7:30 and the 50k at 8am. The route started through a forest and straight up a steep 600ft climb which sapped the calves and thighs but a nice route through the woods, the weather was mild and dry and we were sheltered by the trees so the hat, jacket and gloves came off and were stashed in the rucksack. The path then went down and onto a main road for a short while then back into the forest for another steep 600ft climb, by now my calves and thighs were getting numb not my favourite type of course but the scenery was nice. Back down out the forest and along a country road to a checkpoint and replenished my water. At this point with all the ups and downs and my miles getting mixed up with my kms I had lost any sense of the route or what was coming next , I knew there was a big hill but thought it would be a 20 min slog to the top and that would be it , turns out it was a 1200ft climb over 3 miles up a muddy grassy stony path which took me over an hour, I spent the whole time trying to think up an excuse to pull out as other competitors and dog walkers strolled by me, my thighs by this time beyond numb my calves bulging ready to burst, people sometimes say” its ok you can just walk the steep bits” haha yeah. I finally got to the top and with that a bit of relief as I had hit the halfway point, so only just over 15miles to go with all the main hills done, I started running down the other side, this path wasn’t as steep and was flat and runnable so I bounded down the whole way for 4 miles non-stop overtaking all those who passed me on the way up and a few more to boot I kept going on the flat for a bit up to the 20 mile mark then got into a run/walk routine making good progress listening to music and feeling good, it shows that in ultras you just have to push though the bad spells and you can feel totally different half an hour later. We then hit a muddy grass path alongside the River Tweed this went on for a few miles and at points was like the worst x country course you could imagine, by this point the leaders of the 65k race started to pass me and it wasn’t long before Gareth caught up with me with about 5 miles to go and then took off into the distance. At the 28 mile mark we went back into the forest and the sting in the tail was the hill we had done at the start only in reverse but nothing could dampen my mood at this point I was still going well and picking off the fast starters who were now walking, I speeded up down to the finish and done.

A really well organised scenic trail race but an absolute nightmare if you don’t like hills the weather was crisp but not too cold and the rain stayed off which would have been a disaster for me if it came on, I think. In the 50k there were 124 finishers and I came in 94th in 6hrs 38m 57s and really happy with that considering the type of course. In the 65k Gareth came in 19th from 133 in 6hrs 57m 15s and got a voucher for being 1st in 50+ category

1st 65k

Stuart Paterson- Carnegie- 5h 11m 57s

Fiona Watt –Five Star Active Auchterarder- 6hr 28m 17s (10th overall)

1st 50k

Donald McPartlin –Garscube-3h 45m 23s

Sophie Mullins –Fife Ac/Tailwind – 4h 22m 17s (3rd overall)

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